03 January 2011

Matthew 3-4

Why does the phrase, "Heeeeere's Johnny!" come to mind when I read Matthew 3? Oh well!

I love how honest John the Baptist is in his approach to his ministry. He understands that he is here for only a short time and that the one who will follow him - Jesus - will be even greater than him.

Isn't it interesting that Jesus requests to be baptized? Why would the Son of God need to submit to the act of baptism? Jesus says it is "to fulfill all righteousness" (3.15), but notice that as Jesus is coming up out of the water we see the first appearance of the Trinity in Matthew's Gospel:
1) Voice from heaven - the Father
2) Jesus coming out of the water - the Son
3) Spirit of God descending like a dove - the Spirit

Immediately, Jesus is led by the Spirit into the wilderness for 40 days and 40 nights of fasting. Notice in Jesus' interactions with the tempter that Jesus uses scripture to refute the arguments thrown at him (4.4 quotes Deut 8.3; 4.7 quotes Deut 6.16; 4.10 quotes Deut 6.13). Further notice that the tempter is fully capable of quoting scripture to advance his point as well (Ps 91.11, 12).

Jesus begins his public ministry following these 40 days and 40 nights in the Galilee preaching a message of repentance and recruiting his first disciples, promising them that they will "fish for people" (4.19). Simon Peter, Andrew, James, and John all respond the same way to Jesus' call - immediately dropping what they are doing and following him.

As Jesus begins his ministry large crowds are already beginning to gather around him, but it won't take long for them to start thinning out - keep reading!

What verse(s) stuck out the most in reading Matthew 3-4?

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